There are certain crimes for which an Officer can arrest you on the spot and you are taken to jail or given a date to appear in Court. Typically, these are crimes such as DUI or an allegation of assault or domestic violence. In these cases, the issue is more immediate and law enforcement is involved in the moment or immediately after the incident.
I Received A Summons For A Date In The Future
In other circumstances, an Officer might hear of a set of facts that could amount to a crime but he or she needs to conduct a more thorough investigation. This investigation can take weeks or months. When the investigation is concluded, the Officer sends the report, along with a recommendation on charges, to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Then, a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney will review the report and determine if it warrants charging the suspect with a crime. The Prosecutor will decide which crime or crimes will be on the charging document. As a side note, the charges that the Prosecutor chooses may not always be the same as those suggested by law enforcement.
If the Prosecutor decides to charge you with a crime, he or she will sign a Criminal Complaint. Then, the court clerks are notified that the person charged should be sent a Summons to appear in Court to be arraigned on the charges. The Summons will include location of the Court, the courtroom, the date and time of the arraignment, and alert the defendant as to the nature of the charges. It’s important to have an accurate address with the Department of Licensing (DOL) because the court clerks will use the defendant’s last known address provided to DOL for mailing of the Summons. If you do not appear (because you chose not to or because you did not have a current address with DOL and did not receive the notice), the Court will usually issue a Bench Warrant due to your failure to appear.
It is best to go to Court prepared and represented!